News Title

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) invests and partners with ambitious and visionary entrepreneurs. Its aim is to accelerate late-stage, circular bioeconomy companies and fill the funding gap in the European bioeconomy.

It will be the leading fund to finance innovative growth companies in the circular bioeconomy on the Old Continent, heading for significant impact and very attractive returns.

High level of expertise and well-established partnerships with visionary investors and entrepreneurs will contribute to the transformation process from a fossil-based, linear economy to a bio-based, circular economy.

Investment Sectors and Impact on Society

In an economy moving towards a sustainable future, ECBF aims to fill the funding gap in the European bioeconomy by bringing Europe’s excellent expertise in circular technologies and bio-products to market.

Linear business models are profitable in the short term but, over time, they are not only environmentally but also financially unsustainable. In addition, responsible management of the natural capital and biological resources is more relevant than ever, particularly in a context where consumers’ demand for more sustainable products and regulatory frameworks is fostering innovation and decarbonised markets.

In this context, the circular economy is gaining significant momentum and, together with the biotechnology revolution, is sizing new market opportunities for responsible investments. As a result, ECBF-targeted investment sectors include:

  • Nutrition
  • Packaging
  • Personal Care
  • Agri-tech & Food Tech
  • Bio-Based Materials
  • Blue Economy and Forestry
  • White Biotech and Bio-based Chemicals

A high priority for the fund is innovative solutions that make use of renewable, recovered, and biodegradable biological resources, as well as the conversion of by-products and bio-waste streams into value-added products. ECBF invests in companies with high potential for innovation, favourable returns, and sustainable impact.

Significant Value for Customers

In general terms, ECBF’s most significant value is to de-risk innovative technologies and business models in an emerging industry, operating as a risk-sharing financial instrument.

ECBF offers both impact generation and risk-adequate returns to its investors by:

  • Pooling resources from public and private investors;
  • Establishing a high-quality deal flow;
  • Hosting exclusive deep dives for LPs; and, most importantly,
  • Working with highly experienced investment professionals and industry executives.

On one hand, investors benefit from insights into emerging value chains and innovative business models, opportunities to co-invest, as well as from a layered structure, provided by the cornerstone investor – the European Investment Bank (EIB).

On the other hand, ECBF’s portfolio companies benefit not only from the capital but also from the access to corporate resources, experience, and sales channels.

Examples of Beneficiaries

Concrete examples of ECBF’s investors are corporate market leaders such as Neste (Finland), Nestlé (Switzerland), Corbion (Netherlands), and PreZero (Germany), together with banks such the EIB, the NRW.BANK, and family offices and insurance companies, such as Hettich Beteiligungen GmbH and Volkswohl Bund Versicherungen.

Personal Background and Team Members

Four Founding Partners and 11 members are leading ECBF Management GmbH to success as a team.

With excellent expertise in the bioeconomy, more than 80 years of combined experience in venture capital, and great passion for impact and entrepreneurial spirit in scaling-up attractive business stories, the team wants to partner with ambitious entrepreneurs and managers in Europe.

Values and Company Culture

Having ambitious impact and IRR goals, the team works very cooperatively and believes in mutual respect and fair play. Thus, the values and culture that drives ECBF’s leadership are based on integrity, accountability, teamwork, diversity, and passion.

The company is driven by the strong belief of mobilising capital for transformation.

Founding Partners, Venture Partners and Principal Background

Michael Brandkamp, General Partner at ECBF Management GmbH, has 20+ years of investment experience as a Managing Director of High-Tech Gruenderfonds Management GmbH and tbg, as well as investment director at KfW. With great expertise in all types of financial instruments and leading transactions in High-Tech and bioeconomy start-ups, he has served as a member of several advisory boards, assured investments in 550+ start-ups, closed more than 100 exits, executed several IPOs, and raised almost €1 billion in various fundraising initiatives.

Michael Nettersheim, General Partner at ECBF, has 12 years of investment experience at BASF VC, High TechGruenderfonds and the biotech company Medigene. He is a chemist and holds an MBA.

Dirk Saßmannshausen, General Partner and CFO, has already set up five funds. As a banker by training, he has worked with the early-stage fund La Familiga in Berlin, and as CFO/Senior Controller at High-Tech Gruenderfonds.

Peter Niuwenhuizen, Founding Partner, is a high profiled corporate manager and Chemist by “birth”. He has gained a lot of experience with the Canadian start-up Enerkem and as CTO at Akzo Nobel.

Stephan Roussel, Partner and Chemist, established and led the corporate venture capital unit at Solvay for many years. He is a high profiled manager with a great track record in investing in innovative companies that deal with sustainable chemistry.

Marie Asano, Principal and Chemist with an MBA, has a lot of venture capital experience. With High-Tech Gruenderfonds, she invested in eight companies in the Chemical and bioeconomy sector.

Biggest Achievements of ECBF

ECBF’s biggest achievement is being able to build a team of highly experienced professionals that have nurtured the Fund’s abilities to select the best bioeconomy companies and attract renowned investors. Today, ECBF has raised €200 million, has invested in three bio-based companies, and is providing valuable support for their further growth.

The veteran investment team has raised five funds in the past, counting more than 100 years of experience. This has helped them to lead over 100 exits and 2,000+ transactions. They have an investment track record in Tech and Bioeconomy (board memberships, M&A, and IPO). The team’s sector experience ranges from Ag-Tech and Aquaculture to Nutrition, Advanced, and Bio-based Materials and Chemicals.

The Fund has a target size of €250 million. ECBF raised €175 million just three months after starting operations in October 2020. Currently, it is close to €200 million in commitments from 12 investors based in five different European countries.

ECBF has chosen to invest in three out of 1,500+ companies and projects from the European Circular Bioeconomy, and have several due diligence processes underway.

Let by Clara Martinez, ECBF has strengthened its relationships with bioeconomy networks, industry associations, and stakeholders in different European countries, contributing with additional expertise, advice, exposure, as well as local knowledge and contacts.

The Fund’s portfolio companies include:

  • The Dutch PeelPioneers BV (valorisation of orange peels);
  • The German Prolupin GmbH (plant-based protein and diary alternatives from regional lupine cultivation); and
  • The Belgian (biocontrol agents and bio stimulants for sustainable agri-food systems).